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October 14, 2007

The Cougar Lounge - The Pun Also Rises

"It all started during the interview process when I asked Dick and Tony - 'How did you guys do this? - and it has gone from there."

- New Wazzu women's hoop head coach, June Daugherty, who recalls one of her first thoughts when considering the position - trying to pick the Bennett brain and figure out a way to replicate the success of the men's program.



"When he started running, I knew they didn't have a chance."

- Oregon State head football coach Mike Riley, commenting on another Riley - California quarterback Kevin Riley - and his last-second, fourth-quarter decision to run the ball with no timeouts left, essentially sealing the 31-28 upset win for the Beavers over California and keeping the Bears out of the #1 ranking with the loss.




"Have I got your attention now?"

- 75-year-old Virginia former Comcast subscriber Mona Shaw, who brought a hammer into her local Comcast office and repeatedly uttered her phrase while hitting office phones with a hammer after Comcast had bungled her service upgrade.









The Lounge is full of sly plots and treachery this week after learning that the new internet numbers came in the other day, walking a brisk autumn pace, and they, once again, showed that Yahoo! Sports topped out ESPN in September as the top internet sports site in the nation. It is the second month in a row that has happened and, of course, since your beloved CougZone is part of that - doing our part to contribute .00000001% [or some ridiculously microscopic number like that known only to mathematicians] - of the traffic, we figured it must have been that promised eggnog giveaway scheme Father Lotto cooked up while he was bouncing a basketball against his forehead patiently waiting for hoop season to arrive.

ESPN, meanwhile, has finally decided to get into the widget business, where Yahoo! has been residing for some time now, for customized sports reports. Of course, this will be handy for the day when they decide to get a contract with the Pac-10 - you know, the conference of champions - and cover conference athletic contests at reasonable times of the day instead of late at night so the East Coasters can continue to foster their delusions about the conference.

All this can be something people think about while they drive the dreaded Slog, that stretch of I-5 between Seattle and Portland. Horizon Airlines is trying to convince people to, you know, spend money on airline tickets - preferably tickets for their airlines - by giving points along the drive cutesy names like "Filthy John's Holler", "Molasses Pass" and, our favorite, "Feral Hoopsters". What other sign does one need that hoop season has, indeed, arrived?

Well, there is one more sign - that is the release of the NCAA's graduation rates earlier this month. Normally, this is not a good thing for men's basketball because the sport tends to get exposed as a receptacle for academic slackers - many of whom go to school for considerably less than the amount of time required to properly graduate - one might even refer to them as "feral hoopsters", if one were so inclined. But this year, the much-maligned hoopsters actually brought up their rates - cracking the 60% barrier for the first time since peach basketry was offered as an elective. That's still not something to write home about, but at least people can begin purchasing stamps.

"I am blinded for life!" exclaims Teddy the Wonder Lizard as he lodges a complaint at the Lounge Complaint Department, wearing one of those eye patches like a smelly pirate.

We are not sure what blinded poor Teddy but we have established a list of suspects, the most obvious being Oregon's so-called "lightning" uniforms, which would drive most humans screaming into the night at one glimpse. Another possible suspect is the Cougar defense, which gives up yards and points at a blinding pace. But most likely, it is the blinding speed at which the Cougar football season has catapulted downhill from a mere month ago when they stood at 2-1 after consecutive victories over San Diego State and Idaho. The consensus of the Lounge clientele was leaning heavily toward the bon-bon aisle at the local supermarket after the Arizona game two weeks ago but they have now camped out there this week [since it is a bye week, they can cut out the middleman and just take bon-bon deliveries directly into their mouths] then head on over to the liquor store for something to wash down the bon-bon residue while they await the impending arrival of basketball season. That is because, despite three of the last five games being at home, the season is looking rather murky when the home team has only won one out of the last 10 home games. In addition to that, the Cougars now have five losses on the season after the Oregon debacle [which is not to be confused with the Arizona debacle] and since no bowl team took them at 6-6 last year, that will mean they will have run the table to have a shot at post-season play. The Lounge clientel is not holding their collective breath, they are going out to buy some nog.

"At least we have one team that knows how to win this fall!" says Al Fresco, who was a little frustrated that he botched his technique on his cannonball at the hotel pool and received poor scores from the judges.

Al is, of course, talking about the Wazzu soccer team because if you thought the football team was having a bad season, then you may have missed what is happening to the volleyball team - also winless in the Pac-10 and in the midst of a double-digit losing streak, the third such streak in four years. But over at Cougarland Field, the Cougars are closing in on a possible NCAA tournament berth at 8-1-2 after last week's Pac-10 season-opening victory over Arizona - on the road. If Wazzu is able to get out of Tempe with no worse than a tie - the Sun Devils are a bit tougher than the Wildcats this year - then they will be sitting pretty going into the soccer Apple Cup in Seattle next week. The Cougars are ranked 27th in the national polls but the most recent NCAA RPI numbers show them with a 24 RPI - before they defeated the Wildcats. If they can maintain a ranking in the 20s or teens over the course of the next three weeks, it will almost certainly result in an invitation to the tournament next month.

Hoop season began last week with the first practices getting underway but some of them were open to the leering, ogling public and some of them were not - so this week begins the real, full-scale practice sessions and with that brief lull in the hoop action, we grant one last hurrah to football season before moving on to hoop myopia supplemented with some NCAA prospects for the soccer team. If you are still clinging to the thin, dangling vine of football season, then you absolutely must be a Sunday Morning Quarterback. The only problem with this Sunday Morning QB is that he is obviously not a Pac-10-friendly sort - we know because of the telltale sign of spelling out the "Ten" in his reference to the league, a clear sign of the debilitating disease known as Big Tenitis, that causes people to refuse to acknowledge mathematics and put an extra word that does not start with an "f" in front of Ohio State. Other than that, no problem.


Finally, judging by the speed at which Cougar fans and well-wishers are hoping basketball season arrives, the Lounge Scientists decided to conduct a little test and they found that some prehistoric dinosaurs were considerably faster than speeds most current humans are capable of achieving. No big surprise there since most of those dinosaurs were smaller than humans and expected to be faster but - uh-oh - they discovered that the legendary Tyrannosaurus rex is now one of those creatures that could outrun today's fastest humans. T. rex clocks in at 17.9 miles per hour - just over the 17.7mph that scientists calculate for a 155-pound male with the muscle and bone structure of a professional athlete, and that can mean only one thing - bad news for the human.

"Our research involved feeding information about the skeletal and muscular structure of the dinosaurs directly into the supercomputer so it could work out how the animals were best able to move," says Lounge Scientist #44, Bill Sellers, a researcher at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, who reportedly is confident that he would be dinosaur food.

The way the Lounge looks at it, if a human could convince the dinosaur of the merits of basketball season, then maybe - maybe - said human could live at least long enough to make it to March Madness.





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